The Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Sir Fraser Stoddart was invited to deliver the 2018 Makhlouf Haddadin Lecture entitled, “The Rise and Promise of Artificial Molecular Machines Based on the Mechanical Bond" on Monday, Sept. 3rd in Samir Zaabri Science Lecture Hall (SLH).
The Makhlouf Haddadin Lectureship is bringing renowned chemists to the Chemistry department at AUB. Dr. Kaafarani, Chemistry professor in charge of the Makhlouf Haddadin Endowment and Lectureship stressed on the importance of this unique opportunity; "the interactions with such leaders in the chemistry field allow our faculty and students to exploit new directions in research, build new collaborations, and perhaps secure places for our students in the top graduate programs" he said.
During the event, attended by a large number of students and faculty, Sir Fraser introduced the young Lebanese scientist, Dr. Ali Trabolsi, who joined Sir Fraser Stoddart's group at UCLA as a research scholar and then at Northwestern University.
Dr. Trabolsi is now an associate professor of Chemistry at the New York University of Abu Dhabi. “Ali is a role model to young Lebanese students, each one of you has the ability to achieve like Ali" Sir Fraser addressed AUB students who were eager to meet him.
The visit of the prominent speaker also featured a mentoring talk, entitled “Research Excellence Through Innovation: Doing Your Own Thing".Sir Fraser expressed his admiration to AUB chemistry students for their enthusiasm and knowledge. "You are so engaged in what you do and you are surrounded by teachers who are pressing themselves to the limits sometimes; I think that puts you in a very fortunate position, a position I was put it in Scotland as a teenager going to university" he added. At the end of the mentoring talk, students lined up in a long line to get Sir Fraser's autographs.
Dr. Kaafarani emphasized the importance of mentoring talks: “Good mentoring is crucial to shape up students' goals and as such it substantially increases the students' chance to succeed in their academic journey". He added “Students learn to develop the essential skills to overcome the hurdles and challenges they face, to take impactful decisions, and to develop approaches to face any obstacles; it is about creating new opportunities, shedding light on new paths, impacting career choice, and expanding horizons".
The Mentoring Talk was an interactive platform during which well-established researchers and students shared their inspiring journeys and stories. According to Sir Fraser, mentoring young minds is the most valuable part of the academic experience. “I go and lecture very often, where I interact with people between the ages of 18 and 32 for almost every day of my life. This uplifting experience has kept me going to be able to interact with young people who want to do research." He said.
The Nobel Laureate visit to AUB covered a series of events, including a speech at the AUB's annual opening ceremony, an invitation to the Lebanese village Tannourine where a cedar bearing his name was planted, and a gala dinner celebrating his visit.
Sir Fraser is a pioneer in the fields of supramolecular chemistry and molecular nanotechnology, and his work has helped open up a new field of chemistry. He is one of the few chemists in the past 25 years who has created a new field of research in chemistry, that of the mechanical bog. He invented bistable catenanes and rotaxanes that have been incorporated as molecular switches into nanoelectronics devices and employed as motor-molecules for drug delivery applications. Sir Fraser has published over 1,100 articles in peer-reviewed journals. In 2007, he was knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his services to Chemistry and Molecular Nanotechnology, and he won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Prof. Ben Feringa and Jean-Pierre Sauvage.
The Makhlouf Haddadin Lectureship will continue to bring inspiring speakers to AUB as part of its mission to develop the Chemistry knowledge and research programs to faculty and students. For more details: www.aub.edu.lb/haddadin